Moral Reasons to Commit to Life
why is it right?
The following are some of the moral reasons for commiting your life to the wellbeing of the future of Life on Earth.
The moral weight of the futureAccording to the moral weight perspective, the future is a larger moral consideration than the present merely on the basis of size. For example, if we estimate that the future of complex Life on Earth has about half a billion years left, and each century of complex life has a moral weight equivalent to ten billion humans, then the moral weight of the future is roughly twenty million times that of those alive today.
Moral aftershadowBuilding on the concept of moral weight, to the concept of a moral aftershadow looks at the range of results that our actions have upon the future that is affected by our actions. A "dark" moral aftershadow would be those actions that have the worst effects, and a "light" moral aftershadow would be the choices with the best effects.
Because we cannot know the actual moral aftershadow, the moral aftershadow position claims that we have a responsibility to use heuristics that are carefully evaluated to give the greatest possibility of creating light moral aftershadows.
Tradition of LifeAccording to the Tradition of Life stance, because Life on Earth is a tradition billions of years old, and because we are inseparably part of this tradition, and because we owe our existence and entire context of our lives to this tradition, it is our responsibility to uphold this tradition, and to let no other temptations, justifications, or excuses lead us away from supporting Life on Earth.
Honouring your own potential and dignityAccording to this stance, we owe a moral obligation to ourselves to leave the world more supportive of life. Likewise, if we are a burden upon the world, and have a negative worth to the future, then we have deeply dishonoured ourselves. Even though individual influences upon the future cannot be untangled, so that those in the future cannot be resentful of our own individual actions, we ourselves know the degree to which we were either diligent or negligent in living in accord with our own honour, and can (and should) be deeply resentful of ourselves when we live in a way makes us a burden upon Life on Earth, and thus poisoning our own human dignity that is rightfully ours.
Respecting each living moment ("Life's Tapestry")According to the Life's Tapestry stance, each moment of history of Life on Earth (the total of all these moments is called "Life's Tapestry") has its own intrinsic worth, and it is morally right to maximise the intrinsic worth of each moment of the Tapestry which we affect — primarily by making the collection of moments that make up our own existence as worthwhile and valuable as possible (which includes living those moments in ways that make the downstream Tapestry more alive). This differs from the self-honouring moral stance (above) in that while the self-honouring stance says that we deserve to valuable, the Tapestry stance claims that the moments themselves deserve to be valuable: "In a universe of empty space and moments, we cannot overvalue any moment that is within Life's Tapestry, but it is easy to dishonour that moment by failing to grasp its potential."
The morality of placing the entire future at riskRisk is a normal part of an individual's life. Our lifespan is limited, and our life would be worse off if we did not permit mild everyday risks, such as skiing or letting children play outside. However, the risk to the future of the system of Life itself is a categorically different kind of risk. If it ceases, then all future generations cease. While it is moral (indeed necessary) to accept risk in our own individual life, we cannot extend this metaphor to Life itself — it is categorically not moral to add any risk to the future of Life on Earth.